Skip to main content

Full text of "Long Lance"

See other formats


WE ATS   IN   <AN   INDIAN

the baby's mother *I shall call my son "Howling-
in»the~MiddleK>f~the-Night5Y

This birth name of the youngster was supposed
to be retained by him until he was old enough
to earn one for himself; but always when he
grew old enough to play with other children his
playmates would give him a name of their own
by which he would be known among them3 no
matter what his parents called him. And this
name often was not flattering; for we Indian
boys were likely to choose some characteristic
defect on which to base our names for our play-
mates — such as Bow Legs, Crazy Dog, Crooked
Nose, Bad Boy, or Wolf Tail. Instances are
known where these boyhood nicknames have
been so characteristic of the youngster that they
have superseded his birth name and stuck with
him throughout his life, if he was not able to
earn a better one on the war-path.

But the real name of the Indian was earned
in the latter Instance: when he was old enough
to go out for his first fight against the enemy.
His life name depended on whatever showing
he should make in his first battle. When he
returned from the war-path the whole tribe
would gather to witness the ceremony in which
he would be given his tribal name by the chief
of the tribe. If he made a good showing, he
would be given a good name, such as: Uses-

59